Genealogy Do-Over Week 9 – My Strausser Project, Conducting Cluster Research and Organizing Research Materials

Posted on March 5, 2015 in Genealogy Do-Over

I am following the Modified Participant Options for the Genealogy Do-Over journey. I will be doing over my research for my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Strausser, and his family in the hopes of knocking down a couple of brick walls.

My research goals are: firm up my documentation to form a sound proof argument that Mary Catherine Strausser is the daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser; trace Peter Strausser and his known descendants in the hopes of finding some living descendants who may be able to provide me with some knowledge of this family; and determine the parents of Peter Strausser.

Our topics for Week 9 of the Genealogy Do-Over

Conducting Cluster Research

Modified Participant Options: It is very likely that you have some dead ends, road blocks or whatever you want to call them in your past research. Try taking one person for whom you can find no real information, and iterate out their F.A.N. club connections. Use clues from records such as census sheets to find their occupation, their native country, their native language etc. Start slow and small and progress from there.

Thomas MacEntee recommended the following steps for thorough cluster research:

  1.  Always use a research log
  2. Formulate your theories and write them down
  3. Employ spelling variations when conducting each search
  4. Stop relying only on records that are indexed
  5. Try swapping given and middle names
  6. Search by address
  7. Dedicate yourself to performing a reasonably exhaustive search
  8. Search boundary townships, counties and states

My approach this time will be to follow these recommendations to thoroughly perform cluster research, when I complete researching collateral lines, which will take me a while.  Many of our software programs lack the ability to enter non-related individuals that can then be tied to a specific relative.  I guess what I am wishing for is the ability to add the non-relative to my database and research just like any other family member (add events, images, citations, etc.) and then connect them to a family member without them becoming related or showing up in family/ancestor type reports. I would be very interested in knowing about any genealogy software that can do this.

Organizing Research Materials – Documents and Photos

“All-In” Participant Options: Think of getting organized as an investment: why would you spend years doing research if at some point you couldn’t locate what you’ve discovered? Set aside those crucial one to two hours a month and commit to a plan to get organized.

For this task, I’ve decided to follow the “All-In” Participant Options. I have been relatively successful in organizing and maintaining my file folders and files. I am with Thomas in that I lean heavily toward digital versions of documents and images.

I originally tried the binder method but quickly came to two conclusions: 1) I did not have sufficient space to house the collection as it grew; and 2) it did not really support my organizational style. I am very file folder oriented. I invested in a legal size filing cabinet and legal size hanging folders. Within each hanging folder I can store either legal or letter size manila file folders.  What I store in these folders are the documents I obtain from brick and mortar repositories, even though I scan them to create digital copies.

As I discussed in an earlier Do-Over post, I keep the folder naming consist between paper and digital so I only have to remember on system. Oversize documents, such as copies of newspapers, etc., are placed into large flat archival boxes with the contents listed on the covers.

With my review of my system, I realize that it has been working well for me and I do know how to find everything.  What I do need to do is to comb through my digital and paper folders and create new folders for any couple that does not have one. I confess to lazy days where I just put the document into the parents’ folder rather than make new ones.

The other area I will address will be my document and image file naming conventions. I seem to have tried out several different systems at various times and have never really followed through and implemented one unified system. That task is now on my to-do list for this Do-Over.  Looking forward to next week…

 

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The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers. Week 9 (27 February – 5 March 2015) #WK9GenealogyDoOver

 

© Copyright 2015 Old Bones Genealogy, LLC

 

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #9 – Mary C. Strausser (1842 – 1897), Born in Norwegian Township or Not?

Posted on March 3, 2015 in 52 Ancestors, 52Ancestors, Family History
Extract of 1850 US census, Norwegian Twp., Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania with the household of Peter Strasser highlighted

Extract of 1850 US census, Norwegian Twp., Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania with the household of Peter Strasser highlighted

 

Last night I had a brainstorm. Like many genealogists I spend too many of my sleeping hours mulling over my current brick walls. I can’t remember what led me to begin thinking about the birth place of my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Catherine Strausser, daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser. I remembered that I estimated her birth date around 1843 based on the above 1850 US census. It suddenly struck me that I could track her birth against the tax assessment information that I have on her father, Peter Strausser [Strasser]. So this morning, I completed that task and here is what I found.

Some family trees on Ancestry.com and the IGI say that Mary C. Strausser was born in Norwegian Twp., Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania. I now have some difficulty with this conclusion.

In 2009, I had some research of the tax records completed at the PA State archives by eminent genealogist, John T. Humphrey, CG (dec’d). His research began with the 1831 and 1832 tax assessments of Norwegian Township and he stated that no families named Strausser, Strasser, Strauser, or Strawser were taxed in this period. He notes that an Adam and David Strasser were assessed for taxes in 1844. He suggests that David and Adam moved into the area between 1832 and 1844 from some other location.  Peter Strasser does not emerge in the tax assessments until 1847.

Mary Catherine’s tombstone provides a birth date of 29 Dec 1842. No other source of birth has been found yet. As of 18 Sep 1850, in the 1850 US census, Mary Catherine was enumerated as age 7 years, which would support a Dec 1842 birth date. Her sister, Angeline, is listed as 5 years of age. Angeline’s death certificate gives her date of birth as 24 Dec 1844; again the census enumeration is consistent with this birth date. Peter Strauser did not appear in the tax assessments lists in 1844, 1845, or 1846 either as married or single, which suggests that Peter and his family may not have been residents of Norwegian Twp. prior to 1847.

David and Adam disappear from the tax records of Norwegian Twp. in 1848. Peter pays taxes in 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850 and 1851. Peter is joined by a Levi Strasser in 1852 in Norwegian Twp. They pay taxes for 1852, 1853, 1854. In 1855, both Peter and Levi are gone from the tax assessment rolls of Norwegian Twp. They both show up in the 1860 US census for Coal Twp., Northumberland Co, Pennsylvania.  The microfilms for Coal Twp. tax assessments begin in 1862. From that point on Peter can be traced in Coal Twp. until his death in 1890.

Mary Catherine married Theobald Meisberger on 15 April 1860 and they lived in Coal Twp. until her death in 1897. My conclusion from this exercise it that it is not very likely that either Mary Catherine or Angeline was born in Norwegian Twp., Schuylkill Co. Now I just have to figure out where they were born. Angeline’s death certificate may provide a clue as it lists Peter and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser as being born in Berks Co., Pennsylvania.

 

 

Week 9 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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The Tragic Life of Henry E. Weikel, Mt. Carmel Photographer

Posted on February 27, 2015 in Genealogy - Family Photos, Interesting Finds

I am currently participating in the course “Family Photographs: Identifying, Preserving, and Sharing Your Visual Heritage” with instructor Maureen Taylor. Last Saturday, February 21, we had two classes, “Basic Photo Identification and Interpretation” and Fashion Facts and Foibles: Reading Clothing Clues. Both were excellent. Tomorrow our two classes are “Photo Preservation: Caring for Images” and Collaborative Family History: Online Image Sharing.” The course is part of the great offerings of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGR).

One of the topics we discussed in “Basic Photo Identification and Interpretation” was the photographers mark or logo on the photo. Our assignment was to research a photographer in our own photo collection and write it up in our blog or email. I decided to write this blog post of my research.

I searched my entire photo collection and only found two photos that included photographer information. One was American Art Studio, H. E. Weikel, Mt. Carmel, Pa. and the other was M. Thomas, Shamokin, Pa. In my research I found so much on M. Thomas that I think I will write him up separately in a future post. For this assignment, I would like to focus on Mr. H. E. Weikel since his story really moved me.

According to Find A Grave, Henry E. Weikel was born on 15 March 1869.[1] The only source that could be found for his birth date was his tombstone, which may not be accurate. According to his death notice, he was born in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pa. and had his studio in Mt. Carmel for three years prior to his death on 9 January 1899.[2]

According to the various reports, Henry was either 30, 28 or 22 when he died.[1], [2], [3] A group of Mt. Carmel business men were on an excursion from Mt. Carmel to New York via the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which collided with a local train. Eight Mt. Carmel residents died in this crash.  Many others died or were injured.

Henry had a very short career as a photographer. I found an entry in the classified business listing of the 1891 Shamokin city directory under Photographers for H. E. Weikel at 2 N. 6th Street.[4] Interestingly, his listing was right below that of M. Thomas at 312 and 314 E. Independence.

This implies that H. E. Weikel may have only been in business 8 years before his tragic death. We know his last three years were in Mt. Carmel and it was at this studio that my great-grandmother, Mary (Bunt) Bianchi had her photo taken.

H. E. Weikel left a wife of one year and a child. It was a double tragedy for Henry’s wife, Maggie (Merkle) Weikel, who not only lost her husband in this train wreck but also her brother.

[1] Find A Grave.com, digital record, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com: accessed 22 Feb 2015), memorial for Henry F. [E.] Weikel, Find A Grave Memorial #44962067, Shamokin, Pennsylvania.
[2] “Mount Carmel Is In Mourning,” The Semi-Weekly Item (Mt. Carmel, Pa.), Wednesday, Jan. 11 1899, p. front, entire cols. 1 thru 4,  contd. p. 4, col 2., digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com/image/70725448: accessed 22 Feb 2015).
[3] “Met Death in Wreck,” Daily News (Mt. Carmel, Pa.), Tuesday evening, January 10, 1899, p. front, entire cols. 1 thru 4, digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com/image/74609713: accessed 22 Feb 2015).
[4] “U. S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database online]. Provo UT, USA:Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011, (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 22 Feb 2015), citing Boyd’s Directory of Shamokin, 1891-1893, pub. W. Harry Boyd, Wm. H. Boyd, Reading, Pa., pg. 23.

Mary (Bunt) Bianchi photo by American Art Studio, photographer H. E, Weikel, Mt. Carmel, date ca. late 1890s. Original photo in possession of the author.

Mary (Bunt) Bianchi photo by American Art Studio, photographer H. E, Weikel, Mt. Carmel, date ca. late 1890s. Original photo in possession of the author.

 

 

Posted in Genealogy - Family Photos, Interesting Finds | 2 Comments

Genealogy Do-Over Week 8 – My Strausser Project, Conducting Collateral Research and Reviewing Offline Education Options

Posted on February 26, 2015 in Genealogy Do-Over

I am following the Modified Participant Options for the Genealogy Do-Over journey. I will be doing over my research for my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Strausser, and his family in the hopes of knocking down a couple of brick walls.

My research goals are: firm up my documentation to form a sound proof argument that Mary Catherine Strausser is the daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser; trace Peter Strausser and his known descendants in the hopes of finding some living descendants who may be able to provide me with some knowledge of this family; and determine the parents of Peter Strausser.

Our topics for Week 8 of the Genealogy Do-Over

Conducting Collateral Research

“All-In” Participant Options: While some researchers prefer to work on an entire family as a “group,” meaning parents and children, others “loop back” once they’ve work on all the parents and grandparents. No matter which approach you take, remember to utilize the research and evidence evaluation skills you’ve acquired over the past few weeks of the Genealogy Do-Over.

Since I am actually re-doing from scratch the line related to my brick wall, I will be following the “All-In” Participant Options for this task. The earlier mistake that I made in my research was to get to Peter Strausser as the father and immediately start looking for his parents and siblings. I then jumped right into cluster research of the Strausser families in that and surrounding counties, ending up with too much information and no connections.

Thomas MacEntee recommended the following steps for thorough collateral research:

  1. Start out with a direct line ancestor.
  2. Spend time researching that person’s spouse, including parents and siblings.
  3. Record as much information as possible, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Include occupation, address and other details.
  4. If needed, branch out with research on the siblings and other non-direct relatives.

My approach this time will be to follow these recommendations to thoroughly research all Peter’s children and his spouse, Sarah Mumma (although she may be as difficult as Peter). I will be collecting this information in Evidentia to document all claims. Again this is something I did not do before. I had tunnel vision and only looked to see if a document gave any information on Peter’s parents so I may have missed some clues.

Reviewing Offline Education Options

Modified Participant Options: Review the list of available conference and institutes. Also consider local genealogy conferences and attending local genealogy society meetings.

As I said before, the focus of my 2015 education is to learn more about using DNA in my Genealogy and brush up on my skills and methodology via the Genealogy Do-Over.  I will not be able to visit a conference or institute in person this year. For offline education, I plan the following:

Self Study

  • Reading books and articles about using DNA in genealogy
  • Reading books and articles about methodology and business

Local Societies & Groups

  • Carroll County Genealogical Society monthly meetings. Always a learning experience with some really great speakers
  • Carroll Marketing Group monthly meetings. Again some excellent speakers with some good marketing tips and advice
  • When my schedule permits, I attend the monthly meetings of the Howard County Genealogical Society, the Baltimore County Genealogical Society and the Frederick County Genealogical Society

 

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The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers. Week 8 (20 February – 26 February 2015) #WK8GenealogyDoOver

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Old Bones Genealogy, LLC

 

 

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #8 – Theobald Meisberger (1837 – 1900), Good Deeds or Just Deeds?

Posted on February 25, 2015 in 52Ancestors, Family History
Photo taken from "Souvenir St. Edward's Church," Shamokin, Pa., Press of the Daily Herald, 1897. Courtesy of John Haile, Shamokin, PA

Photo taken from “Souvenir St. Edward’s Church,” Shamokin, Pa., Press of the Daily Herald, 1897. Courtesy of John Haile, Shamokin, PA

 

I’ve written before about my 2nd great-grandfather, Theobald Meisberger but I have not yet written about this aspect of his life. He has the distinction of being my earliest ancestor to own property. Did he do good deeds or did he just own deeds? Well, maybe both.

He is mentioned in an 1897 anniversary booklet for St. Edward’s RC church in Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania (Pa.) as one of the founding members of the church. This usually means that he contributed a lot of time and/or money to the church to help it succeed—good deeds.

Theobald was a coal miner, who in 1873 was able to pay $1000 to purchase property from John B. Douty and his wife. I could not find any mention of the acreage since it was town property. Apparently, the town was laid out by John Brady. In fact, the town (not incorporated) was initially called Brady. This morphed into Johnson City during the 1890s and finally became Ranshaw by the time my mother was born there. Today Ranshaw appears to be within the city limits of Shamokin as a suburb of Shamokin.

In the 1880 US census, Theobald had his in-laws, Peter and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser, and their son John Strausser, and John’s family, living in his household. In 1881, Theobald split off a lot from the 1873 property to sell to his mother-in-law, Sarah Strausser for $550 (which he may have lent them). This was a deed and a good deed.  For some reason, Sarah’s husband, Peter Strausser, was not mentioned in this deed.  The fact that he sold the property to Sarah and not to Peter is a bit of a mystery for me.

I was going to include a copy of this deed or my transcription of this deed in this posting but gave it up as a bad idea since each of these documents are three pages long. Click here to see an abstract of this deed. The signatures of both Theobald and Mary (Strausser) Meisberger seem to have been copied into the deed book by the clerk as I have a copy of Theobald’s signature on his naturalization papers.

In 1883, Theobald purchased an additional lot from Isaac May, Sr. and his wife Mary May for $1300.  Theobald subdivided all his lots until he had four lots, upon which he then built four houses. He lived on one, Peter and Sarah shared another, and two of his children and their families lived in the other two.

On 15 December 1890, Theobald repurchased the lot for $400 that he previously sold to Sarah Strausser. On this indenture dated 4 December 1890, Peter Strausser, husband of Sarah Strausser, is listed as a joint owner.  Peter Strausser died on the 11th or 12th of December 1890. Sarah follows him on the 26th of May 1891. I believe that the ill health of both Peter and Sarah are why Theobald bought back his land and house at that time.

I am amazed at this man. He is nothing but a coal miner yet he manages save enough money to purchase not one but four lots and then proceed to build houses upon them. He is generous in supporting his church and family. Theobald’s wife Mary C. (Strausser) Meisberger predeceased Theobald, dying in 1897. In his 1900 will, Theobald leaves the four lots with their houses to four of his children and their families. I am still trying to find where these properties were in Coal Township. Hopefully, I will succeed.

 

Week 8 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

Posted in 52Ancestors, Family History | 2 Comments

Genealogy Do-Over Week 7 – My Strausser Project, Reviewing Database Software and Digitizing Photos and Documents

Posted on February 19, 2015 in Genealogy Do-Over

I am following the Modified Participant Options for the Genealogy Do-Over journey. I will be doing over my research for my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Strausser, and his family in the hopes of knocking down a couple of brick walls.

My research goals are: firm up my documentation to form a sound proof argument that Mary Catherine Strausser is the daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser; trace Peter Strausser and his known descendants in the hopes of finding some living descendants who may be able to provide me with some knowledge of this family; and determine the parents of Peter Strausser.

Our topics for Week 7 of the Genealogy Do-Over

Reviewing Genealogy Database Software

Modified Participant Options: Also decide if your current method of recording your genealogy research results are working for you instead of against you. If you decide to stick with your current system, make sure you’ve downloaded the latest upgrade and understand any new features.

In October 2012, I wrote a blog post explaining why I use Family Tree Maker (FTM) as my primary database software. I also use The Master Genealogist (TMG), Roots Magic (RM) and Legacy. At the time of that post, I was using FTM 2012, TMG 8, RM 4 and Legacy 7. You can read about my experiences benchmarking these four software programs at “Why I Use FTM as My Primary Genealogy Program.”

Since I am now using more updated versions of these programs I decided to do another review to see if I have changed my mind about anything. I used FTM 2014, TMG 9, RM 7, Legacy 8 and I threw in Family Historian 6 and Heredis 2014. I repeated the same benchmark testing that I performed in my original evaluation and came to the same conclusion. I like FTM best for my data entry.

I then created a fresh GEDCOM 5.5 file from my current FTM 2014 database and, one by one, imported it into each of the remaining five programs as a new database.  Although there were data transfer issues, I was pleasantly surprised to note that they were far fewer than in 2012, which tells me all the programs are getting smarter and software vendors are responding to our need to be able to transfer data as accurately as we can.

The one test I have not completed is transferring GEDCOM data from Evidentia into my Family Tree Maker software.  I cannot try this out until I have several more source documents and all their claims entered into Evidentia.

Digitizing Photos and Documents

Modified Participant Options: There is no real difference in practices from the “All-In” participants; however, if you are sitting on digital scans of photos and documents you’ve done previously, review the quality and consider instituting the best practices listed above and “re do” those scans!

In his Week 7 Genealogy Do-Over post, Thomas MacEntee listed some photo digitization best practices. I find that I have been following these practices when I have control over scanning of documents or images. I take all my digital photos in “RAW” mode with my digital camera and always preserve my original images.  I use Corel PaintShop Pro X5 as my graphic editing software and CutePDF Professional as my PDF suite.

I have several scanners that I use for various purposes:

  • An HP Officejet Pro 8630, whose software is limited to either JPG or PDF both at 300 dpi max but it has an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) that allows me to scan multipage documents in a single session
  • A Neat scanner, which I use primarily for business cards, receipts and business and personal documents
  • A Mustek ScanExpress 2400 which I find useful for legal size documents
  • A Wolverine scanner that I use for scanning slides and negatives.

I used to have a better scanner on my old all-in-one printer but it failed and I noticed when shopping around that the scanning abilities seemed to be limited on all the printers I looked at.  I am seriously considering Thomas’ question “Photos: DIY or Use a Professional Service?”

If I decide to do it myself, it will involve the investment a good photo scanner that will allow me to create TIFF, JPG or PDF formats and scan to higher dpi ranges then 300. I think it is time to take a closer look at professional services as well so I have added this task my ever-growing to-do list.

I want to leave you with my photo story. When my parents died, my two sisters and I each got a third of the “photo box.”  In the late 1990s, I decided to scan all those photos and place them on CDs so we would each have all the photos, at least in digital format. I scanned my photos. I borrowed one box from my sister to scan. The other sister could not remember what she did with her box so I never got them to scan.

The two boxes I scanned were state of the art for that time. Remember, storage was very expensive, disk drives were small and tended to fill up and scanners did not offer high resolution unless you went into the commercial scanners, which were cost prohibitive. I purchased the best one I could find and scanned all the photos as JPG and 100/200 dpi.

Today, they still print half-way decently but with the advances in the technology of monitors over the years, their display resolution has declined.  My current monitors are 25” HD.  Many of the photos are too tiny to see the detail in them and when enlarged just pixilate.  I tried to borrow the photos back from my sister to rescan but, of course, now she also can’t put her hands on them.

The moral of this story is when you hear the advice to scan photos at the highest resolution you can, believe it. It’s important. You may only get one chance.

 

 

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The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers. Week 7 (13 February – 19 February 2015) #WK7GenealogyDoOver

 

© Copyright 2015 Old Bones Genealogy, LLC

 

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #7 – I Love to Research Michel Meisberger (1812 – 1878) and His Family

Posted on February 16, 2015 in 52Ancestors, Family History

I really do love to research Michel Meisberger and his wife and sons and daughters mostly because of the wealth of information I have been able to find on this family.

Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Juniata Sentinel and Republican, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, Wednesday, January 15, 1879

Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Juniata Sentinel and Republican, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, Wednesday, January 15, 1879

 

The feeling I received when I read this obituary was that of love— almost 42 years of it. I had a date of 10 April 1878 for his death, which came with no sources from the Winterbach family book owned by Roland Geiger, a professional genealogist living in Sankt Wendel, Germany; but with this newspaper article, I think the death might have been later in 1878 or early 1879.

I discovered that the men in this family could all sign their names. I have the original 1853 and 1855 signatures of Michel, his eldest son Theobald and his second son Michel, Jr. on my copies of their naturalization papers.

Their literacy makes them unique among my early ancestors. I found out that in the early 1800s, Prussia required that all young citizens, both girls and boys, be educated by mainly municipality-funded schools from the age of 5 to 13 or 14. Prussia was among the first countries in the world to introduce tax-funded and generally compulsory primary education.

Theobald’s 1837 birth certificate and Michel’s 1837 marriage certificate were filled-in preprinted forms.

Extract of marriage record of Margarethe Bettinger and Michel Meisberger 1837

Extract of marriage record of Margarethe Bettinger and Michel Meisberger 1837

 

This is the family that contains my only discovered black sheep ancestor, William T. Meisberger, who was sued for $10,000 in a breach of promise suit that made national papers. His brother, Michel, Jr., is my only Civil War ancestor and I was able to obtain the 101 page pension file that disclosed their town of birth.

Although a coal miner, Theobald managed to purchase four lots and build homes on them, which he then willed to three of his daughters and their spouses and two of his sons. He also provided a home for his in-laws and was a founding member of St. Edward’s RC Church in Shamokin, Northumberland Co., PA.

I could go on but these are just a few of the stories that I have uncovered researching Michel Meisberger and his family that illustrates why I so love researching them. I believe that these stories also show a lot of love and caring within the Meisberger family.

Last but not least, I have a nine page descendant report that provides information on Michel’s parents and siblings and all his ancestors and their descendants back to Michel Meisberger born about 1680.  Researching all of these folks will keep me busy and I love to be busy.

To find more on these and other Meisberger stories, please go to my blog at Old Bones Genealogy and search for Meisberger.

 

 

Week 7 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

Posted in 52Ancestors, Family History | 1 Comment

Genealogy Do-Over Week 6 – My Strausser Project, Evaluating Evidence and Reviewing Online Education Options

Posted on February 14, 2015 in Genealogy Do-Over

I am following the Modified Participant Options for the Genealogy Do-Over journey. I will be doing over my research for my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Strausser, and his family in the hopes of knocking down a couple of brick walls.

My research goals are: firm up my documentation to form a sound proof argument that Mary Catherine Strausser is the daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser; trace Peter Strausser and his known descendants in the hopes of finding some living descendants who may be able to provide me with some knowledge of this family; and determine the parents of Peter Strausser.

Our topics for Week6 of the Genealogy Do-Over

  Evaluating Evidence

Modified Participant Options: If you are reviewing your existing research, it may be difficult to evaluate evidence if you haven’t cited sources. In addition, some genealogy database software programs don’t make it easy to evaluate evidence. Determine the best method for your current data; it may actually help to use a program such as Evidentia, Clooz or one of the other evidence evaluation software packages.

Although my project is a small portion of my current database, I plan to start my research for this line from scratch. I will be following a genealogy research methodology as documented by Mark Tucker in his “Genealogy Research Process” map.

I plan to enter my source into Evidentia. Evidentia guides me through the process of documenting a source, citing this source, assigning classifications to the source (source type, etc.) and finally analyzing the information and evidence.

Evidentia 2.2.4 utilizes classifications from the Evidence Analysis Process Map by Elizabeth Shown Mills (see QuickLesson 17: The Evidence Analysis Process Map at the Evidence Explained website).

This process map classifies sources as original, derivative or authored. It classifies information as primary, secondary or undetermined and evidence as direct, indirect or negative.  Evidentia supports all nine of these classifications.

Evidentia will assist me through Mark Tucker’s process steps of Cite and Analyze. It may even assist in the Resolve Conflicts step with its excellent reporting. Finally, Evidentia allows me to complete the Conclude step by writing a written proof. The data entered into Evidentia can then be exported as a GEDCOM file to allow one to import it into any software that accepts GEDCOM files.

Reviewing Online Education Options

Modified Participant Options: There isn’t much different for the “go-over” or “review” participants – we all need genealogy education whether we are doing a complete “do-over” or not. See the plans above and determine what is a good fit for your learning style and the gaps in your genealogy skills.

I have already begun to develop my 2015 Education Plan as I do each year. The primary focus of my 2015 education is to learn more about using DNA in my Genealogy. A secondary focus is to brush up on my skills to streamline my methodology via the Genealogy Do-Over.

Here is my initial online plan for 2015:

Online Classes

  • January 22 – Evidentia Training (need for Genealogy Do-Over) (1 session)
  • February 21 & 28 VIGR Class – Family Photographs: Identifying, Preserving, and Sharing Your Visual Heritage – Maureen Taylor (2 weeks)
  • June 1 – NIGS Class – Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting (6 weeks)

Conferences

  • January 8 & 9 – APG Virtual Professional Management Conference 2015 (9 sessions)
  • February 12 & 13 – Roots Tech 2015 Live streaming Sessions
  • I will schedule other conference streaming events as offered. I have no plans to attend a conference in person this year.

Webinars

  • January 3 – A free webinar from SCGS – Brett Payne: Preservation of Photographs and the Importance of a Good Scan
  • February 19 – APG Webinar – The Ins and Outs of Speaker Proposals presented by Julie Miller, CG
  • February 19 – The ABC’s and 123’s of DNA – Angie Bush (Utah Genealogical Association)
  • I will schedule other webinars as announced focusing on DNA topics and depending on my schedule at the time.

In addition, to maintain my skills and knowledge, I daily read an assortment of online blogs covering genealogy, technology, DNA and writing.

 

 

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The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers. Week 6 (6 February – 12 February 2015)  #WK6GenealogyDoOver

 

© Copyright 2015 Old Bones Genealogy, LLC

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52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #6 Helen Bianchi Ficca (1900 – 1939) (Tombstone Tuesday)

Posted on February 10, 2015 in 52Ancestors, Family History
Tombstone of Helen A. Ficca nee Bianchi at St. Peter's Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, PA

Tombstone of Helen A. Ficca nee Bianchi at St. Peter’s Cemetery, Mt. Carmel, PA

 

Helen Bianchi is my great aunt. According to her baptismal certificate, she was born 28 October 1900 in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and baptized on 11 November 1900 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mt. Carmel, Northumberland, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Bonaventura and Mary (Bunt) Bianchi.

Helen married Dominic Ficca, son of Nicola and Angeline (D’Orio) Ficca, on 9 November 1920 at St. Peter’s Church in Mt. Carmel. Together they had the following children:  Agatha (Ficca) Hullinan (1921 – 1994), Bernice Ficca (abt. 1924 – ?), Robert Ficca (abt. 1928 – ?), and Annette Ficca (abt. 1933 – ?).

Helen died on 10 January 1939 at the Geisinger Memorial Hospital in Danville, Montour County, PA. She was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Mt. Carmel on 14 January 1939.

 

 

Week 6 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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Genealogy Do-Over Week 5 –My Strausser Project, Building a Research Toolbox and Citing Sources

Posted on February 4, 2015 in Genealogy Do-Over

I am following the Modified Participant Options for the Genealogy Do-Over journey. I will be doing over my research for my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Strausser, and his family in the hopes of knocking down a couple of brick walls.

My research goals are: firm up my documentation to form a sound proof argument that Mary Catherine Strausser is the daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser; trace Peter Strausser and his known descendants in the hopes of finding some living descendants who may be able to provide me with some knowledge of this family; and determine the parents of Peter Strausser.

Our topics for Week5 of the Genealogy Do-Over

Building a Research Toolbox

Modified Participant Options: Consider creating a research toolbox, especially if your current toolbox consists of tons of bookmarks or favorites that are not very well-organized.

What I found works for me is organizing my toolbox links in folders.  I set up folders for the types of research I do and any other pertinent category.  I then add my URLs to the appropriate category. In cases where I may have many URLs, I use sub-categories.

My Genealogy Research Toolbox

My Genealogy Research Toolbox

The large image contains the folders of my major categories.  This is maintained on my desktop so it is always at hand.  The two categories that you cannot see in this image are “Societies and Conferences” and “US Research.”

The Pennsylvania Research Sites category is shown open.  Since most of my personal research centers in Pennsylvania, I have many links so I created the following sub-categories: a General folder that encompasses state or state-wide resources and separate folders for Berks, Chester, Delaware, Northumberland, Luzerne, Philadelphia and Schuylkill Counties, where I do most of my research.

For this do-over, I will be primarily researching in Pennsylvania so I will be making heavy use of these links. I will add new links as I discover them to keep my toolbox up to date.

Citing Sources

Modified Participant Options: If you have cited sources for your previous research, review the cites and check them for formatting and accuracy. If you don’t have a cheat sheet or template to help speed up the process, consider creating a way to use pre-set source citation templates.

I had a lost year in 2008 while I reworked my database and insured that every event/fact had a proper citation.  In addition to Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, I make use of the following QuickSheets, also by Elizabeth Shown Mills:  “Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images” and “Citing Online Historical Resources.”

Finally, I use “Genealogy Source Citations Quick Reference by Thomas MacEntee (I had it laminated) that I found online in 2009. Other useful sites I use for citations include EasyBib.com and WorldCat.com.

 

 

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The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers. Week 5 (30 January – 5 February 2015) #WK5GenealogyDoOver

© Copyright 2015 Old Bones Genealogy, LLC

 

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